Blog Description

A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

New Deck Ready for Fall and Book Club

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Fall is in the air........ 


Cooling rains, pouring rains, drizzling rains, flash flood rains... came bringing life to the woods and bringing autumn to our parched landscape.  After several days of rain, overcast skies, and soggy weather, the skies cleared, and now, the clear air under brilliant blue skies remains cool.

The leaves are still mostly green, but many brown ones have fallen to the ground.  Most years there is little color to fallen leaves here.  Instead, the leaves change from green to totally brown on the trees, then fall to the ground.  The first brown leaves to fall are dying of thirst, not from plunging night time temperatures.  When the autumn rains begin, the temperatures cool causing the next wave of brown leaves to fall.  Small oak twigs with tiny acorns also fall during autumn rain storms that include lots of wind, thunder, and lightning.

The new deck is perfect for enjoying the crisp fall mornings and for a gathering of the November meeting of the Monday Book Club.  As I arranged the furniture over the weekend between rain showers, I kept my fingers crossed that the weather forecast calling for bright sunshine on Monday would be accurate.  

It was!  I could not have ordered better weather for the book club.  

All of the deck furniture is old.  These wrought iron chairs were part of a table and chairs set bought thirty-seven years ago for a surprise party to celebrate the Long Tall Texan's graduation from graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin.  

When you live long enough, all of your furniture has history.   

Well, most of your furniture.  These folding wooden chairs across from the old iron chairs are fairly new, bought a couple of years ago for a previous book club gathering under the pear tree in the backyard.  Along with the fleur de lis iron topiary they add a French look to the deck. 

Ivy is one of the plants that not only survives the harsh summer and winter Texas weather, but seems to thrive when I remember to water it and to protect it from the snow in the winter.  These are being trained as topiaries which also adds a French touch.  

In the background, on the old lower deck yet to be replaced, is a large group of potted ivy plants, most of which are being trained as topiaries also.  The old bench made from a wrought iron bed sits at the edge of the new deck so that no one will accidentally fall over the edge.  Once the lower deck is replaced and is the same level as this new section, the furniture will be rearranged. 

Until then, barriers are needed for safety reasons.

The potted boxwood plants on either side of the iron bench also serve as barriers at the edge of the new deck.  As the boxwood plants grow, I will train them into a ball shape and use the clippings during the holidays.  I don't think there will be enough boxwood for any homemade wreaths this Christmas.... One day... There is always hope.  

The vintage wrought iron bedstead bench came from an antique store in Forney, Texas more than twenty-five years ago and probably is the first thing in my house that had a fleur de lis, the beginning of my love for French design. 

On the opposite end of the deck from the bench is a small seating area.  A  L A R G E  heavy potted mum and graceful concrete swan statue serve as the barriers at the edge of that end of the new deck. The small table is perfect for holding my Coca-Cola. 

The table's tile top depicts a little blue bird with a message of HOPE that reminds me that there is always hope.  Hope for all decks replaced, hope for glorious fall weather, hope for visiting with dear book club friends, hope for homegrown boxwood, hope for soul-lifting happinesses in the future, hope for life's unexpected, unknown joys.... just around the bend, out of sight. 

One of my hopes today is that you will come back for the next post where you will see more of the deck and preparations for the book club meeting.  

Please join me at these inspiring sites...




  1. Lovely, Judith. I can't wait to see more. The setting is just perfect!

  2. What a lovely setting for a book club meeting! I enjoyed looking at your eclectic mix - gorgeous!

  3. So pretty there on your deck. I'll come back!

  4. Oh yes Judith, what a setting to enjoy early fall in... Love the iron day seating bench, and what a view.
    Hope is a thing with feathers, indeed a beautiful message.

    See you soon.



  5. What a splendid spot for book club. Yes, rain, rain, rain has left us with fresh air and refreshed plants. We are expecting more tomorrow. I hope you have perfect weather for book club. ;-)

  6. How lovely to meet outside! I'm glad the rains have finally come to you and to many of your readers. We are wet too, and our temperatures are chilly. I'm happy you have a new deck just in time to host your club. The members will love the open air! Did you remake the iron bed? I love it as a settee!

  7. I bet your friends loved it out there! I'd always rather sit outside when the weather cooperates. Our book club is meeting next Tuesday night at Gloria's. There might be a margarita included. :)

  8. I know you had a wonderful time! How beautiful and I just love all of that furniture!! So pretty and such an eclectic mix...I love the look! Book club is such a great time to spend with friends also...chatting about this and that...and eventually getting around to the subject at hand...the book of the month! :-)

  9. Hello Judith!
    I am here on your new deck, after catching up! I have been here "on deck" a couple times before, from my desk at work. You have styled your deck perfectly for your book club. So natural, with just the right little pops of your signature "bleu"!

    Thank you so very much for your sweet Seahawks salute. It must have helped to receive some Texas love because we pulled off a win!

    The activities of past three months have completely stolen my blog time. I am easing back into the routine I once enjoyed before!

    Happy November, my friend!

  10. Your deck looks great. I love the bed bench!!!


To leave a comment, you must complete Word Verification to show you accept my privacy policy regarding comments. See my full disclosure and privacy policy by clicking on it in my menu bar at the top of the blog. Your email address is NEVER shared. THANK YOU FOR LEAVING A COMMENT.